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Tuesday, February 18, 2014 

UMSL preserves student comics at museum

The UMSL Daily reports that the Billy Ireland Cartoon and Comic Book Museum in Ohio is preserving their student comics. However, there's one part towards the end that's foolish to say:
Comics are meant to be read and tossed out, but they capture an era’s prevailing attitudes and issues, said Wendy Pflug, the museum’s associate curator for collections. History books might offer names and dates, but comics and cartoons provide a look at public attitudes.
What a stupid thing to say. Even if comics aren't the on the same footing as novels, they're still something to be read and re-read like text books. It may have once been common that people would discard old pamphlets after reading them, thinking they weren't worth any more than the typical daily newspaper, but today, most people know better, and certainly if it's comics that were written and drawn in good taste. Saying that they're meant to be disposable is not the right way to describe the medium.

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It would have been accurate if that article had used the past tense, i.e., comics "were" meant to be read once and then thrown out, back in the 1960's and earlier. That is why Golden and Silver Age comics are expensive: they are rare, and the supply is lower than the demand. Since the late 1970's or so (and maybe even earlier) the medium has been taken over by collectors and investors, and throwing the comics out is the last thing they have in mind.

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